April 8, 2022 - Deuteronomy 1-2
As we begin a new book, the opening chapter often introduces us to the theme and subject to be discussed. It reveals main characters or a geographical setting from which the book was written. Exciting events or historical facts are presented so the reader can understand the author's viewpoint. Such "hooks" are used to encourage a reader to continue to look at the material.
Moses is the author of Deuteronomy, and he introduces his readers to the location and the distance they are from Mount Sinai, which is stated to be eleven days even though they were now in the 40th year of travel (1:2-3). This reminder is a clear reference to Israel's lack of faith and rebellion that had marked their journey to this point.
Moses reviews Israel's disobedience at Kadesh Barnea (1:19), and the many years of wandering in the desert. This roaming was done for the 2nd generation of people from Israel to learn how trust and obedience to the Lord and His laws benefitted them. This truth was applicable not only to this generation but for future generations as well.
The teachings and admonitions of this book were to be studied and each king of Israel was to personally write out a manuscript so that he would not be ignorant of God's laws (17:14-20). King David appears to have accomplished this with his ability to quote and meditate upon scripture and repent quickly when he did wrong. Solomon, even as wise as he was, appears not to have followed this instruction and fell into sin and idolatry with many foreign wives (1 Kings 10-11).
Deuteronomy may be a book of the law used by God to instruct the people of Israel before entering the land, but it can be useful for believers today. Moses instructs parents on raising their children and he reviews how God was merciful and longsuffering toward unruly and sinful people. Finally, Moses calls for obedience and faithfulness by God's people as they enter unfamiliar and challenging events in their journey of faith.
Similar truths are clearly taught in New Testament passages as the writers seek to instill the principles of scripture to encourage believers to live, labor, and serve God's Son, Jesus Christ. Peter sums it up, "And so we have a prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19). Read and study this book and allow it to instruct you as it has taught and directed many believers in the past!